Australian Crop Report: September edition
Below average rainfall during winter is not expected to have substantially reduced crop prospects in Victoria. Above average levels of lower layer soil moisture present at the beginning of winter are expected to have sustained crops. In addition, timely August rainfall in western districts was sufficient to support crops in average to above average condition at the beginning of spring. Root zone soil moisture in August was below average in south western cropping regions. Sufficient and timely spring rainfall will be especially important in these regions to support grain formation.
Spring rainfall is likely to be above average in most cropping regions in Victoria, according to the latest three-month rainfall outlook (September to November) issued by the Bureau of Meteorology on 3 September 2020.
September and October rainfall is expected to be average to above average in most cropping regions, supporting yield prospects. Yields are expected to be above average in most regions.
Winter crop production in Victoria is forecast to increase by 6% in 2020–21 to around 7.9 million tonnes. This mostly reflects an expected increase in yields, driven by favourable seasonal conditions in autumn and the favourable spring outlook. The forecast increase in production also reflects an estimated 8% increase in planted area to 3.4 million hectares in 2020–21, as a result of favourable seasonal conditions in autumn, particularly in marginal cropping regions. Significant area of wheat and barley crops is not expected to be cut for hay and fodder because of the favourable seasonal conditions expected during spring and low hay prices.
Wheat production is forecast to increase by 14% in 2020–21 to 4.1 million tonnes reflecting an expected increase in the average yield and an estimated increase in planted area. Yields are forecast to increase from last year and be average to above average in most cropping regions. The forecast increase in production also reflects an estimated 10% increase in planted area to 1.6 million hectares.
Barley production is forecast to decrease by 6% in 2020–21 to around 2.3 million tonnes, driven by an expected fall in the average yield to 2.7 tonnes per hectare, which is down 11% from the exceptional average yield in 2019–20. Planted area is estimated to have increased by 6%, partially offsetting the effect on production of the expected fall in yields. The average yield for barley is expected to have fallen year-over-year because a smaller area is estimated to have been planted to barley in high-yielding regions in comparison to 2019–20.
Canola production is forecast to increase by 18% in 2020–21 to 765,000 tonnes. Planted area for canola production is estimated to have increased by 17% to 450,000 hectares because of favourable seasonal conditions. The average canola yield is expected to be similar to 2019–20 at around 1.7 tonnes per hectare.
Note: Yields are based on area planted. Area based on planted crop that is harvested, fed off or failed. Percent change are relative to last year.